United States Foreign Policies


The U.S. on its foreign policies has focused on improving the international relations between countries, and in doing so it has fought the unfavourable regime such as that of Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The war to end the terrorism and human oppression offers a stark demonstration of the complicated interactions between the system-level, the state-level and the individual-level factors in the modern world politics. The political scientists implement the three levels of evaluation to classify the driving force that produces results in the global relations, and this framework may explain the U.S. foreign policies on the Iraq and Libya as follows;

Systemic Level Factors


The United States is the largest economy in the world, and it thus has power to control the foreign policies of many economies. The idea of the U.S. power in the global relations comes as a result of the capabilities, extent of resources as well as influence in global affairs. This power can be divided into the idea of the soft power and hard power. Hard power describes compelling power, for instance, the utilization of force, while soft power normally covering cultural, economic and diplomacy influence. However, there is no apparent line dividing the two types of power. For example, the Bush administration foreign policy used force to evade Iraq in order to change Saddam Hussein’s regime. On the other hand, in Libya, Obama administration amounted to residing purposefully behind the picture during the five-month air operation by NATO. As a result of this power, the U.S. is placing strain on the weaker countries to put up with the stronger nations in practicing democracy and ending humanitarian crisis.


As a result of globalization, the economies of the world are becoming more interdependent with each other that are the mutual dependency and responsibility on others. This is as a result of the growing economic interactions between countries. The function of the global institutions and extensive reception of some functioning values in global systems emphasizes concepts that the interactions are categorized by interdependence.

This interdependency force of the U.S. administrations to evade Iraq and Libya in order to end the humanitarian crisis as well as to improve the U.S. international leadership position by skilful diplomacy, tackling nuclear proliferation, which was the action taken by Bush administration against Iraq in order to find out whether Saddam Hussein has mass destruction weapons. On the other hand, Obama administration on Libya sought to end the Gaddhaffi regime, which had caused a widespread humanitarian crisis in the region. The U.S. had to take action in order to enforce democratic values, which they stand for. Furthermore, if no action was taken in both cases, the international community words would have been rendered hollow.  


The U.S. may exploit the developing countries for its success or as a result of high dependency of the developing nations, so that it may necessitate change in order for it to provide the necessary resources like project funding (foreign assistance). The U.S. attacked Iraq, a nation that was under sanctions from the year 1991 to 2003, fighting to achieve basic medicines and clean water and one of the reason for this invasion was to preserve the “dollar imperialism” because this domination started to be faced up by Euro. The invasion of Libya as most people argue was actually about oil, and if Libya did not have any oil, the invasion would not have taken place.      

State Level Factors

Scholars of foreign policy says that publics and leaders often utilize historical occurrences to enlighten present decision making, what is termed as analogical reasoning, which entails drawing learning lessons from the historical events on what will happen in the future, or how to retaliate in the present circumstances. Unlikely, research has indicated that policymakers often self-serving, imprecise, or sloppy in lessons they obtain from the past events.

Ernest May and Richard Neustadt wrote a book on “Thinking in Time” as well as Yuen Foong Khong wrote a book on “Analogies at War,” they indicated that leaders frequently misuse past events or history and drew varying lessons from similar historical events. For instance, American conservatives normally drew lessons from Vietnam in that political leaders must not micromanage wars as well as must for all time fight and win the war, while many progressives or liberals learned that force from the military is an ineffective instrument in dealing with deeply political conflicts. Oft-cited issue is so as to leaders take hold of apparent resemblances in events and disregard the variances, resulting to poor judgements. Munich lesson, for instance, was cited by the U.S leaders that one must never conciliate dictators throughout the Cold War devoid of any regard on how the current dictator may vary from Adolf Hitler within his capabilities or intentions.

The government of the U.S. has long been enticed to interfere with other countries’ affairs and most of the time with no good consequences. It is hard to overcome history, culture, ethnicity, tradition and religion to “fix” some nations. Iraq radically showed that communal engineering by war is difficult. Libya appeared to be a simple case, because Gaddafi was for a long time hostile to the U.S. Washington worries about the rise of the anti-American extremism as a result of the autocracies.        

Personal Level State

 Therefore, it is appealing that the political scientist as well as Peter Feaver, staffer of Bush-era National Security Council, criticized Obama for his decision to remove troops in Iraq by end of year 2011 utilizing analogical reasoning, which measure up to withdrawal, supposedly much unrelated events, which was the first reason for the decision of the Bush to attack Iraq. Feaver gave three reasons why withdrawal policy of the Obama would risk repeating mistake of invasion. First, just like the Bush administration invaded Iraq without ensuring whether they have sufficient troops to cope with reconstruction and occupation, Obama is retreating without assessment on the troops’ number needed to secure State Department workforces and others charged with progressing the Iraq’s construction beyond 2011. Second, just like Bush supposedly “took his eye of the ball” through invading Iraq rather than focusing on conquering Al Queda in the Afghanistan, administration of Obama is allowing his need to finish the war sidetrack his concentration from the requirement to maintain pressure on the Al Qaeda that might be reinvigorated by complete U.S. pull out from the nation. Finally, the Bush might have provided a huge reward to Iran through considerably deteriorating Iraq, the regional enemy, while Obama is mixing the error as well as the strengthening theocratic regime’s capability to attain regional domination by withdrawing the U.S troops. 

The Libyan’s disagreement is immaterial to the “American prestige and influence” if the U.S. policymakers stupidly put that influence and prestige at risk. In reality, immense powers do not have the right of proclaiming a circumstance unbearable, and after that, they do nothing to correct it, while they actually have a rule to do that.

 In fact, being a superpower, world’s only superpower lets Washington do exactly that. In case the Americans have to shed blood each time the U.S. leaders made hot-headed, even unintelligent statements, the country will never have peace.

The demand for real leadership must integrate prudence and particularly the readiness to lay down priorities. To the Americans, it does not matter who becomes the ruler of Libya. Libya is a huge producer of oil, but whoever manages Libyan Government would desire to sell Libyan key significant resource. Extended difference may interrupt exports, but it would mean superior prices and not economic fall down, in Western nations. Maintaining gas inexpensive is amongst the most terrible reasons for the war. 


Based on the above analysis, all levels such as systemic, state and personal level factors explain why the U.S. pursued such contrasting applications of the U.S. military power in pursuit of the foreign policy objectives. This is because all these three analysis levels factors appear to be predominantly influential in invasion in Iraq by the Bush administration and Libya by Obama administration. Therefore, these level factors interacted to shape the outcomes.

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